Saturday, 8 December 2012
The Tale Of Hauk II
In fantasy, the dead can return either as ghosts or as zombies but Geirolf is a bit of both. It is definitely his body that leaves its grave and physically attacks folk at the full moon but he also has "Ghost-strength..." that turns swords aside (Anderson, Fantasy, New York, 1981, p. 37). Hauk must wrestle with this ghostly body and break its neck so that it is immobilized and can be burnt. Hauk is then called "...the Ghost Slayer." (p. 47)
But is he now under a doom or a weird? Before slumping and lying still, Geirolf had "...traced a line through the air and a line growing beneath that." (p. 46)
Does that mean a horizontal line with a longer vertical line descending from its mid-point, a T shape, like a Cross without the shorter vertical line above the horizontal?
A character appropriately named Grim explains, "That's naught but the Hammer...He blessed you..." (pp. 46-47)
So all is well. However, a knowledgeable British Heathen told me he thought that the Sign of the Hammer was an upside down T, more like a reversed Cross.
Geirlof's ghost-strong body is described as a "...drow..." (p. 44) My Chambers Dictionary defines a drow as "a form of troll" and a troll as "in Scandinavian mythology, a goblin or supernatural dwarf (earlier giant)," from the Old Norse. That is somewhat confusing but why apply this term to what Geirolf has become?
This short story presents in twenty seven pages the kind of subject matter and narrative techniques to be found in Anderson's Viking novels.